People of RecWell

Labor Day Hours:

The Kaplan Center will have modified hours on Monday, September 2nd in observance of Labor Day. Visit the Hours of Operation page to view the schedule.

Posted on Monday, March 4th, 2019 by Daniel Bayer under Employment, Involvement. Tags:

Deja Lawrence

Deja Lawrence PhotoSince its opening in 2016, the Kaplan Center has been about more than just exercising, swimming or playing intramurals. It’s about fostering a sense of belonging, not just among UNCG students and faculty, but among the larger community in which it’s located. That’s one of the things that Group Exercise Instructor Deja Lawrence likes most about her job at the center.

“It’s the atmosphere we’re able to create,” says Lawrence a senior. “Students from all different walks of life come here, whether it’s just to sit and study or work out.”

But it’s not just students who benefit from the center, says Lawrence.

“We have the B.E.L.T. and H.O.P.E. programs for people in their 50s and 60s,” she says. “They may have balance or other issues, but they can come in the mornings and get a nice workout. That’s just an example of the broad reach the facility has and I enjoy that.”

Lawrence started with the Department of Recreation & Wellness as a Fitness Assistant, but a group exercise instructor suggested she try out for dance instruction after spotting her dancing to the background music while at work.

“I like to dance, and smile at people and give them that positive energy,” says Lawrence.

Lawrence hopes to use the skills she learned working for Recreation & Wellness to pursue a career as a fitness coach.

“I’ve really enjoyed the experience of what I can contribute to the community,” she says. “I’d like to continue to expand and grow in the fitness field.”

Emmanuel Fletcher

Emmanuel FletcherIf you’re climbing the three-story rock wall at the Kaplan Center for the first time, you can be sure you’re in good hands with Outdoor Adventures employee Emmanuel Fletcher.

“People who have never climbed before can get nervous,” says Fletcher, a junior. “My job is to make them feel secure on the wall.”

Fletcher is a “belayer,” or the one who holds the rope as the climber ascends the wall. If you’ve ever peered over the railing at the base of the wall on your way to the two-court gym or the Natatorium, he’s the one you see who’s letting out or taking in the rope that the climber is suspended from while giving them direction and encouragement.

“I make sure the climber is secured,” says Fletcher, “and protect them on the way down.”

One way that Fletcher gets novice climbers in the right frame of mind is to build a sense of trust with them.

“I always have them and let them know that I’m not going to drop them,” he says. “I have them go a few feet up the wall and let go, so they know that I’ve got them.” Fletcher holds them in place using a device, the belay, that locks the rope so that the climber won’t descend any further.

Fletcher says the best part of the job is getting to know people.

“It’s always fun to have a conversation with new people, people who have never climbed before,” he says.

Everyone should come to the Kaplan Center at least once during their time on campus, says Fletcher, and enjoy an atmosphere that encourages people to push themselves.

“It’s an open space for everyone,” he says. “Everyone is just friendly and open to the people who come here.” To learn more about the climbing wall and all that Outdoor Adventure has to offer, visit recwell.uncg.edu/oa .

Donalk Komondy

Don KomondyWorking for the Department of Recreation & Wellness at UNCG can offer one a wide variety of on-the-job experiences, from skiing the snow-clad slopes of Virginia to developing marketing material for the department, says senior Donald Komondy.

“It offers plenty of areas for personal growth,” says Komondy, who works as a Promotions Assistant and Photographer in the Marketing Program. “I like the marketing department because I can develop my communication skills and get professional experience in a work environment through the student-to-staff relationships.”

Komondy also likes his job with the department’s Outdoor Adventures Program, where he helps students navigate the Kaplan Centers’ three-story indoor climbing wall or accompanies them on Adventure Trips to the great outdoors.

“It’s a close-knit community,” says Komondy of the Outdoors Adventures program. “If a student has outdoor interests, we’re very open to helping them get over their fear of heights on the climbing wall, or constructing and planning their own outdoor trip.”

And his favorite trip with Outdoor Adventures?

“The ski and snowboard trip to Virginia,” he says. “That’s near and dear to my heart, that’s what I love to do.”

Do you have multiple talents you would like to share with the UNC Greensboro Community, consider joining our team. The Departement of Recreation & Wellness is hosting an Employment Expo, February 12th from 4pm – 6pm in the Kaplan Center. Ready to apply? Submit your online application at recwell.uncg.edu/employment.

Preston Ellington

Preston EllingtonThe UNCG Department of Recreation and Wellness offers more than just team and group activities at the Kaplan Center. Students can arrange to meet with a personal trainer such as Preston Ellington to help them set and reach their own individual fitness goals.

“We meet with clients and have a consultation, says Ellington, a junior. “We learn what their goals are and develop a program to reach those goals.”

Students can fit time with a personal trainer into their school schedule, says Ellington.

“It’s flexible,” he says. “We can meet one or several times a week.”

Ellington says the best part of the job is helping someone reach the goals that they’ve set for themselves.

“Seeing their face when they achieve that, it’s just the best part,” says Ellington. “My job is to give them confidence and get them on that road to success.”

The lessons you learn in working with a personal trainer can last a lifetime, says Ellington.

“We teach people self-efficacy, or to have confidence in your own abilities,” says Ellington. “That translates into the confidence to learn new things as you go through life. It gives you a sense of discipline to achieve your goals.”

For more information on the personal training program or to schedule a consultation, visit the personal training homepage at recwell.uncg.edu/fitness.

Rebecca Bischoff

Rebecca BischoffSome employees like the Department of Recreation & Wellness so much that they pull double-duty, serving in two different capacities. One of those employees is Rebecca Bischoff, who works in both the marketing department and as a lifeguard.

“I decided to become a lifeguard because I wanted to become more familiar with more of the staff (at Recwell),” says Bischoff, who was working as a lifeguard at the recent Family Day at Piney Lake. “It feels like I’ve become part of a family.”

Bischoff says that she also enjoys the fast-moving environment of the marketing department.

“I’ve been in marketing for over a year,” says Bischoff. “It’s always changing. We’re always getting different kinds of projects and it keeps me entertained.”

One of the most interesting projects she worked on was an Avengers-themed T-shirt for Intramural Sports.

“It came out great,” says Bischoff. “It was really inclusive and it utilized a lot of different creative processes.”

Alex Scott

Alex Scott There are a lot of activities going inside at the Kaplan Center on any given day: intramural sports, fitness classes, swimming, or people just jogging around the indoor track. What a lot of people may not know is there are lots of outdoor activities available to students as well, as Outdoor Adventures employee Alex Scott will tell you.

“In addition to the (indoor) climbing wall, we offer various outdoor trips, including camping and hiking,” says Scott, a junior, of the Outdoor Adventures program. “We also have rock climbing and white water rafting.”

For those of you who may have forgotten to bring your backpack to campus, or couldn’t fit your canoe in your dorm room, Scott says don’t worry.

“All the equipment is provided,” says Scott. “That includes tents and everything else.”

“I really enjoy helping people grow,” says Scott of his job with Outdoor Adventures. “I especially like teaching people how to do the activities safely.”

Outdoor Adventures can take students and staff further afield than one might think.

“Last year some of the staff went on a backpacking trip to Wyoming,” says Scott. “I’m looking forward to that.”

Tyler McKee

Tyler McKeeOne of the big draws of UNCG’s Kaplan Center is its two pools, and if you’ve ever spent any time around water you know that safety always comes first. That’s why lifeguards like junior Tyler McKee are always on duty when the pools are in operation.

“We watch the pool to see if anyone is in trouble, attend to medical emergencies and enforce the safety rules,” says McKee of the lifeguards’ responsibilities. “Basically we make sure everyone here enjoys the pool safely.”

McKee says that a friend who knew one of the lifeguards recommended the job to him.

“I was looking for something to do during the semester, and my class schedule didn’t allow me to work a regular part-time job,” says McKee. “Aquatics has a great group of people here and I really enjoy it.”

Students should take the time to check out the Kaplan Center and see what programs and activities are being offered, he says.

“Even if you’re not a gym rat, there are a thousand classes and other things to do,” says McKee. “You should come down and take advantage of this wonderful, state-of-the-art facility.”

RecWell offers lifeguarding certification course as well as other American Red Cross safety courses during the school year. You can see the current schedule of course at recwell.uncg.edu/aquatics.

Iqra Malik

Iqra Malik stocking regrigerator
The Kaplan Center is a big facility, with its multiple workout studios, basketball courts and swim areas. Big facilities take a lot of work behind the scenes to make it function, says Fitness Program Assistant and Facilities Supervisor Iqra Malik.

“I make sure the classes run smoothly and that the building is maintained,” says Malik. “A big part of our job is ensuring the safety of students and visitors.”

Malik says the most challenging part of her job is if someone gets hurt and following the entry protocol for access to the center, but the friendly atmosphere and emphasis on fitness is what makes her work special.

“I love coming here,” says Malik. “I love working with my co-workers, and of course I love working out.”

It is quite common for our student staff to work across multiple program areas. To see all employment opportunitis, visit our Employment Page online.

Caption: Malik straightens the drinks at the front desk cooler, one of the many small details that she oversees as a facilities supervisor.


Samantha Gailard

“Poet Robert Frost spoke about “the road not taken,” but the staff at Recreation & Wellness’s Outdoor Adventures are always trying to create new paths, especially on the Kaplan Center’s three-story climbing wall.

Caption: Samantha Gaillard (top) and Anton Parker (right) lay out new climbing routes at the climbing wall in the Kaplan Center.We’re taking down routes and resetting them,” said sophomore Samantha Gaillard, who was working on the climbing wall with fellow Outdoor Adventures staff member Anton Parker. “People want new things. We’ll be changing all the climbing routes in time for the climbing competition.” Changing the climbing routes involves removing the hand and footholds on the wall and moving them to new locations. 

Parker, a sophomore, says that working for Outdoor Adventures helps expand his horizons and keep things fresh. 

“I can be myself and be more creative,” says Parker. “It’s also a lot of fun.”

Gaillard likes helping to improve the student experience at UNCG.

“Everyone (at Outdoor Adventures) is committed to people’s wellness and needs, and getting people out for activities,” she says. “It’s also like a big community.”

The 20th Annual Spartan Summit Climbing Competition will take place February 17 at the Kaplan Center. For more info, go to recwell.uncg.edu/summit.

Caption: Samantha Gaillard (top) and Anton Parker (right) lay out new climbing routes at the climbing wall in the Kaplan Center.


Jalien Byers

Jalien Byers says one of the best things about his job with the UNCG Department of Recreation & Wellness is interacting with the influx of students and faculty who come into the Kaplan Center everyday.

“I enjoy being able to meet people from different backgrounds,” says Byers, a senior who works for in the Competitive Sports and Facilities programs. “I like helping people be active, and being active myself. The people here are like a family.”

Byers also enjoys the responsibilities of his job.

“I ensure safety and create a fun environment, as well as keep track of equipment,” he says. “Basically I just build a positive attitude for everybody.”

In addition to Jalien’s role as a student employee, he also serves as the President of the UNCG Men’s Basketball Club which is part of RecWell’s Club Sports program.